“Beat the Wind! Use Your FULL Double-Haul.”
As promised here is our SKIFF EPISODE, where we REVup our Double Haul for casting in the wind, getting extra distance, and throwing big flies. Skiff fishing provides its own challenges, especially where distance is concerned. Because a boat is bigger, makes more noise and throws a bigger shadow, fish can see/sense/feel it and us from farther away. That often means longer casts are essential just to get the fly away from the boat into a zone where the fish are not yet alerted to our presence.
This is a more advanced tip, but still comes back to basic principles of casting, namely: Slack is the Enemy! Many anglers who have learned to double-haul don’t take it far enough. Specifically, they don’t get their “hauling hand” back to their casting hand before they start their forward cast. If there is a lot of space between your hands, there’s a tendency for the casting hand to MOVE TOWARD the hauling hand at the beginning of the casting stroke. This puts slack in the system, reducing bend in the rod and stealing energy from the cast.
The difference between a good caster and an expert fly caster is that the latter will end their haul with their hands nearly together. This makes it impossible for the hands to move toward each other during the casting stroke. It also provides more distance for the haul on the forward cast.
Work on getting the hauling hand back to the casting hand BEFORE you begin your forward stroke. The line will tell you how fast. Too fast and you’ll put slack in the line. Too slow and you won’t make it all the way back. It should feel as if the line is PULLING YOUR HAND back toward the rod, after you make the haul for the backcast.
Go ahead, live vicariously. Take a glimpse into the vast Everglades through the eyes and stories of official Estrada Art crewmembers. The first of a new series of films, they will take you into the ‘glades from all angles, on poling skiffs and paddle boards and kayaks. From Islamorada, to Flamingo and Everglades City these dudes are living it.
~ * ~
I fished with Eric Estrada a couple years ago, well, 2013, but it feels like more than a year and a bit. He joined our crew for something we never could figure a proper name for so I just ended up calling it the Florida Gathering… or something similar. Basically it was a bunch of bloggers and guides (and artists) getting together and fishing. We were supposed to take pics, vids, and write stories on our various blogs. I didn’t… yet. There’s stuff percolating, but nothing has been anything like put on paper. Not that it wasn’t a great (not to say epic) trip, cause it was. It was just hard to put into a simple statement. (Unless you’re this guy and can forge a week of mis-matched fishing mayhem into something akin to poetry.)
Anyways, back to Eric. He was a cool dude to fish with. Old school. A throwback to that old-world salt who not only knew his shit, but expected you to as well. And, when you (inevitably) screwed up he would tell you, not out of cruelty or spite, but out of an honest place of constructive criticism. I liked him. I also caught a big-ass Peacock Bass with him within like an hour of meeting the guy, so I might have been biased from the outset. Nevertheless, I truly enjoyed his enthusiasm and personality throughout our stay in Islmorada. I mean, not too many other anglers would be willing to drop everything, pickup a couple complete strangers from Miami International and then drive several hours and guide them for a couple days, for free! Who does that?
I’m glad to see Eric doing well and supporting local talent the way he does. The man works hard and has way of keeping in the background that seems neither braggadocios or falsely modest. It’s just who he is.
So, this is an official shout out, from one old-school salt to another.
Tight lines, brother.
WindKnot the Elder
April 25, 2012, 5:25 pm
BarJack: [On poling platform, back to sun straining against the 12 knot ESE breeze.] Ok, he’s facing away from you.
WindKnot: [Searching for fish shape in the glare.] Away? You sure?
[Recast. Slooow strip. The tarpon materializes as it turns.]
WindKnot: Got some kinda reaction from ‘im… oh, dude, that could be really good dude.
[Strip, wiggle, wiggle, pause… line jumps tight, rod bends, rod straightens, line slides back slack.]
WindKnot: Ugh! F***! F******!
BarJack: WindKnot, WindKnot, WindKnot, WindKnot...
WK: [Pulling in fly line and leader.] Aaaah, duuude. F***! Alright. Your turn… Guarantee you I popped that 20-pound. I knew I was holding on a little too tight. That was an awesome eat… oh, noooo!
WK: [Fingering the leader in disbelief.] You’re not going to believe where it broke.
WK: In the F***ing 40!
BJ: And why would it broke in the 40, WindKnot? Can you explain that to me?
BJ: Cause you told me that would never break in the 40. Never break. Never! Forget Wind Knot, your name is now Forty.
Roughly 26 minutes earlier:
BJ: Leader looks a little frayed there. I’d retie, but that’s just me.
WK: Dude, that’s in the 40. [pull hard on line] That’ll never break.
BJ: Ok, man, you say so. I’m just sayin’, I would change it. I dealt with a lot of frayed leaders on Diego and I’d change it.
WK: Bro, look, I retied the 20-pound. I’m telling you, that will break way before the 40.
BJ: Ok, man. You say so… it’s your fish.
Capt. Will Benson and his crew at World Angling have a new video out called Silver Lining. The film looks at tarpon fishing and what’s at stake as the cruise ship industry looks to dredge Key West harbor to allow bigger ships to port. The impact this would have could be devastating to the tarpon fishery around Key West.
Being from Grand Cayman, I know a thing or two about cruise ships and the positive and negative impact they can have on an island and culture. Before them we didn’t have a Hard Rock Cafe ®, or Margaritaville ®. We also had stunning coral reefs teeming with amazing marine life literally a stones throw from shore—life that relied on clean, silt-free water to keep the coral healthy. Those pre-franchised, live-coral days are so far gone their memory appears distorted to me now, like a f***ed up Instagramy thing—blurry and faded. Unreal.
Sure, there’s been a few bucks made, but the cruise lines conglomerates are pushing for us to build a huge pier—at great expense to our people and detriment to what’s left of the struggling ecosystem in the harbour—just so their passengers can simply walk off the ship when they choose.
Right now there’s a pretty neat system in place that creates jobs for local captains, and keeps the natural currents and tides in the harbour unchanged by a massive concrete dock. When ships are in port a fleet of tenders ferry the passengers to and from the ships. Cost is nominal at a buck or two. And if every tourist had to pay $10 to keep our environment healthy (which is what they want to see) I’d still think they were getting the bargain of a lifetime!
I could go on, but I think that’s enough, really.
October 21, 2012
Ok, so here’s the deal with the revolution. First, there’s not one… revolution, I mean. Two, you can’t claim to be revolutionary because you do something as silly as fly fishing, with equipment the making of which (be honest) you haven’t the foggiest idea about (regardless of how many YouTube® videos you’ve watched). So stop calling yourself Sustainable. Or Green. Or Eco-anything. Or Revolutionary. Yes, corporate fly fishing sucks, but unless you fashion your own fly rods out of spinning rod blanks, sand down 80-lb mono to make your own shooting head fly lines, and forge your own hooks out of paperclip wire, you’re pretty much corporate. Sorry, just reality.
And another thing, you can’t claim to be a dirt-bag, hippy, [insert species here] bum if you own 10-grand of fly gear, a gas-drinkin’ SUV to pull yer 30-grand flats skiff and upload videos showing how much of a badass you are from your new Macbook Pro.
If there was a revolution, which (as I’ve mentioned) there isn’t, it would have been staged by those Bahamian guides who still fish those old school Bass Pro specials or the cheapest Redingtons they made… and can dump the entire line with ’em too. It would have been soldiered by the nameless, by the un-endorsed, by the silent workhorses of the angling world.
The revolution would have been perpetrated by those folks who just wanted to go fishing, because they loved it—as a pursuit, as a rest from labor, as a quietly raised middle finger to the consumptive day-in-day-out existence of their weekly work day . They probably released their fish out of respect, maybe out of a little bit of love, and mostly because the streams they fished were filled with toxins from the last century of industrial enterprise, and effluent from the last big rain.
They wouldn’t have let anyone take pics of them with their flyrods on their shoulders, or called themselves extreme, or espoused (in any way) the ethos of a bum. They probably would have slowly upgraded their tackle as they inched their way up the corporate ladder and only after the children were out of college, maybe pulling a fast one on the wife by asking for a Harley (which they knew she’d veto) and then “settling” for some new fly fishing tackle—probably a Sage rod and Abel reel. They’d have joined Trout Unlimited and been a regular at the local flyshop (before it went bust thanks to Amazon).
So, maybe there was a revolution after all, but we just can’t recognize it anymore. Maybe that’s what happens to revolutions after a while: they become un-tell-apart-able from the corporations they were rebelling against. The very process of seeping into the mainstream consciousness mollifies the revolt, and now here I am, rebelling against the revolution: a rebel without a clue. Isn’t that, after all, the American way?
* Or YouTubed, or Vimeod or FFFTed or whatever.